Sidewalk project needs new voteA controversial sidewalk project on Hallquist and Eunice avenues must be reapproved by the City Council to continue, city staff said.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
A controversial sidewalk project on Hallquist and Eunice avenues must be reapproved by the City Council to continue, city staff said.
Since work did not begin or no contract was signed within a year of ordering in the project, it technically is dead, engineering director Ron Rosenthal said at Monday’s City Council meeting.
“It has been invalid, or a non-project, since the spring of ’09 without us knowing about it,” Rosenthal told council members Monday.
At a neighborhood meeting called by the mayor last month, some residents raised the question of whether the project was still valid because of the time delay.
In March of 2008, the council approved the plan to install sidewalks on Hallquist and Eunice avenues. When the project was looked at again in 2009, Rosenthal said there was a miscommunication on how long construction could wait.
The council unanimously voted Monday to set a new public hearing on the issue for March 26, and potentially could order in the project again after that.
The city had already posted for bids, and Rosenthal said they will continue with that process so planning and construction could move forward if the project is approved again.
Late last year, the City Council agreed that the sidewalk project on Eunice and Hallquist avenues should move forward after being delayed for years. Members cited issues including safety concerns and connectivity as justification.
But a number of residents have since spoken out against the project. They have said they don’t see a safety issue, are worried about the cost and don’t want trees demolished to make way for the sidewalks, among other concerns.
Council member Mike Schultz said he has heard from a number of residents on all sides of the issue and wanted others to have a chance to voice their thoughts.
“I think to not ask for a hearing would be a mistake,” he said. But he emphasized the council is looking for a solution soon.
Council member Marilyn Meinke asked for more and more recent data on the project and area as well. For example, she said, updated traffic counts would be helpful in making a decision on the sidewalks.
At the neighborhood meeting in February, some residents suggested painting a line on the road designating a pedestrian area instead of installing sidewalks. Council members asked for more information on that proposed alternative as well.
If you go…
What: Public hearing on sidewalk project at Hallquist and Eunice avenues
When: March 26, 7 p.m. (during council meeting)
Where: City Hall council chambers